Docs divided on issues, candidates in 2016 election

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Health policy has taken a backseat to other issues during this presidential election, even for some physicians, who are split on their feelings about the two current candidates.

A 2012 Gallup poll ranked healthcare issues as the top issues in that year's election, according to an article from Physician’s Practice, but this year Republicans rank it fourth and Democrats third. Doctors, too, are making their decision on who to vote for based on issues like foreign policy, according to the article.

"I cannot make a choice between these two candidates and my choice would have nothing to do with healthcare,” Joseph Zebley, M.D., a Baltimore family medicine doctor at a concierge practice, told the publication. “My choice will have to do with national security and the economy."

Docs are divided about health policy issues, FiercePracticeManagement previously reported, as half feel that the Affordable Care Act should remain in place and half would like to see it repealed, according to a survey from SERMO. The Great American Physician Survey, which was conducted during the primary election, also found that 45.9 percent of responding docs would like to see more federal regulation on insurers and 48.4 percent would like to see the next administration intervene on rising drug costs.

Physician’s Practice also met with doctors in key battleground states who pointed to healthcare’s “merger-mania,” improving prenatal care and continuing discussions on a potential public option as industry issues they’d like to see politicians put more focus on.

Physicians were also fairly evenly split on which party they backed, too, according to the Great American Physician Survey, which recorded responses from 1,300 docs across the country. Of the respondents, 45.6 percent said they would vote Republican, 40.2 percent said they would vote for a Democrat and 14.1 percent were unsure.

Studies have shown that doctors do not vote in large numbers, turning out at lower rates than the general population and other professionals like lawyers, FiercePracticeManagement previously reported, which has led to their peers calling for heavier doctor involvement in politics.